Hello. It’s hot. (Old journalism training: Don’t bury the lead.)
The Braves close out what has been a successful home stand (7-2) against Houston, and what happens in today’s game against Houston could impact their starting rotation as much as it doesn’t the National League East standings.
Kris Medlen will make his second start after winning 7-1 over Miami last week. In his first start in two years — Tommy John surgery followed by relief work — Medlen allowed only one run and four hits and needed only 57 pitches to get through five innings. (A lengthy rain delay ended his night.)
He is scheduled to make at least one more start next Saturday at New York, but then the Braves will have a decision to make. The rotation currently looks like this: Tim Hudson, Ben Sheets, Paul Maholm, Mike Minor and Medlen. Tommy Hanson, who went on the disabled list July 31 with what’s believed to be a minor back injury, is eligible to be activated a few days after Medlen’s start against the Mets.
So what would the Braves do? Hudson, Sheets and Maholm will stay in the rotation. Presumably, so will Minor, who has strung together some nice starts after problems earlier in the season. That leaves three options: 1) Moving Medlen back to the bullpen, where he has been valuable; 2) Moving Hanson to the bullpen, which seems doubtful given that he has never pitched there in his career; 3) Going to a six-man rotation.
Medlen would be the easiest move, but if the guy looks strong against the Astros and Mets I don’t see how the Braves could do that to him. I may get into this more later in a post-game column, depending on how today’s game goes.
Today’s lineup is fairly standard, with the exception of catcher Brian McCann getting a day off: Michael Bourn (8), Martin Prado (7), Jason Heyward (9), Chipper Jones (5), Freddie Freeman (3), Dan Uggla (4), David Ross (2), Paul Janish (6) and Medlen (1).
That’s it for now. I’ll be here through the game to respond to your questions and vents. The cyber floor is yours. What are your thoughts on Medlen and the rotation?
By Jeff Schultz